Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eternal Guardian

A new(ish) creature from Thylia. Hope you enjoy it.

Eternal Guardian

Climate/Terrain: Any, usually Subterranean
Frequency: Rare
Organization: By Squad, Unit, or Army
Activity Cycle: Any
Diet: NA
Intelligence: Semi (2-4) See Below
Treasure: NA (see below)
Alignment: True Neutral
No. Appearing: 2-20, 20-200, special
Armor Class: 4
Movement: 9
Hit Dice: 3+2 (foot soldier), 6+3 (officer)
THAC0: 17
No. of Attacks: 1 by weapon foot soldiers, or specialized by weapon officers by level
Damage/Attack: by weapon or 1d4
Special Attacks: Nil
Special Defence: as undead
Magic Resistance: Nil
Size: M
Morale: Fearless (20)

These beings appear at first to be heavily armed and armored dwarves, but upon closer inspection, the faces beneath the helms and other exposed flesh is shirveled and dried looking. The eyes, unlike the lively twinkle of living dwarves, are milky white and dead looking. Their weapons and armor are in excellent repair, though the wear of ages is evident.

Combat: Eternal Guardians fight much as they did in life, in formation and as a group. They fight with the weapons they carried before death (typically short swords, battle axes, or hammers, and every individual carries at least one spear) and the armor is as it was at the time of their interment (typically chain and shield or splint mail). The rank and file foot soldiers' armament are mundane, but officers may (35% chance) carry some magic upon them, typically a magic weapon or armor, though some have been known to have rings, gauntlets, or similar.

In battle, they will fight in perfect battle formation, commanded by any officers present. They display unnerving coordination, turning and wheeling as if by common, silent consent and, indeed, they have a limited form of telepathy amongst themselves within a range of 100 yards and use this ability to communicate tactics and plan changes.

When encountered as a single squad of up to 20, one of thier number will typically be an officer if far from a larger group. In larger groups and armies, there will be one officer for every 30 guardians that will direct the actions of their units. Though no concrete evidence has been brought forth concerning such matters, it is rumored that there are generals amongst their ranks of no less than 9 hit dice and decked in the best armor available. When left on their own and with no direction from the living, Eternal Guardians will attack any non-dwarf who does not bear a symbol of Kerak-Neth, the ancient dwarven capital. Any who surrender will be treated fairly and remain unharmed as long as they behave. Any dwarf with knowledge of the ancient dwarven language who declares himself and his family name can attempt to command the eternal guardians, though this is risky. If such orders conflict with their overal goal of defending the dwarf nation, they will turn their anger against the imposter.

Each eternal guardian has the same immunities as other undead. Further, they are turned as if 3 greater hit dice. They can be commanded only by a dwaven cleric of the Light.

Habit/Society: Usually, unless mustered by the resident priests or military leaders, the Eternal Guardians rest upon their beirs, weapons on their chest and shield at their feet, ready should they be called up. Only the call from a legitimate authority will wake them, or the audacity of any creature that tries to loot them while at rest.

Ecology: When a dwarf declares his devotion to the craft of warfare, he swears and oath to defend the dwarven people forever. Such oaths are taken very seriously, and mere death is no release. Upon a warrior's death, assuming the body is retrievable and relatively whole, it will be prepared by the priests by being packed in dessicating salts and minerals and filled with such material. When the body is completely dried and the organs replaced with salt or sand, it is re-armored and placed upon a shelf along with hundreds of its fellows, there to await need.

2 comments:

  1. These are sweet; I love the backstory you give for them. And it's always a pleasure to see some non-evil/chaotic/whatever (you know what I mean ;3) undead every once in a while.

    Lovely work!

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  2. At the risk of sounding creepy, I've had a long love affair with the undead and dwarves, so undead dwarves is a natural extension of that.

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